Customer Review

702 of 715 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The land of Esselstyn... where the living is easy!, September 6, 2007
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This review is from: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease (Hardcover)
My cousin turned me on the Esselstyn lifestyle. Her husband, who has suffered from genetically high cholesterol, had seen many male family members die before their time due to heart disease. When vegetarianism and then veganism didn't solve his problem, they went hardcore into the Esselstyn lifestyle.

In 5 short months, my cousin (average size 12 American female) lost almost 30 pounds, much of it by foregoing the core of their vegan diet: olive oil, nuts, avocados, etc. Her husband also lost weight; better yet, his high cholesterol finally responded and is now in the excellent range.

My cousin then recommended the Esselstyn book to me, as my husband's cholesterol has stubbornly remained above 200, and he, too, has a history of heart disease in his immediate family. Though we believed we were already eating a healthy diet, several hours of reading through Esselstyn's findings soon proved we were wrong. We made a pact to try the diet for just 1 month and evaluate where we stood.

Well, 1 short month convinced us that this is the way to eat for life! We've now been following the program for 37 days, and the changes are already obvious. My husband has lost about 12 pounds and 3" in his waistline. He feels "lighter" and less bloated, and is "completely satisfied" (his words) by the wide variety of natural and delicious foods we eat.

As for me, I have lost about 9 pounds and a total of 12"; I will soon need new jeans! My mid-afternoon cravings are miraculously gone. And no one was more surprised than I to discover that we do not miss eating the staples of our previous diet, such as grilled salmon, eggs, olive oil, fat-free dairy products, dark chocolate, and an occasional 96% Laura's Lean sirloinburger. Another side benefit is that we are spending less at the grocery store!

If you're on the fence about this one, do what we did... try it for just 1 month (but be sure to give it 100%) and then make your decision.
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Tracked by 8 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 33 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 26, 2010 8:14:30 PM PST
Seems like your diet was very good even before you started.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2010 11:29:39 AM PST
a reader says:
I believe that is her point.

Posted on Oct 3, 2010 1:28:52 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 3, 2010 1:29:15 PM PDT]

Posted on Oct 19, 2011 6:21:42 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 23, 2013 2:32:05 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012 2:27:45 PM PDT
J Collins says:
I understood this part: "we do not miss eating the staples of our previous diet, such as grilled salmon, eggs, olive oil, fat-free dairy products, dark chocolate..." in the same way as Robert, so I was much confused. And "I believe that is her point" did not help; but it did tell me that someone was getting a meaning from these words...GOT IT! The diet proposed by the book has many foods that the reviewer eats anyway; so, they do not have to change those things, they do not have to give them up, they do not have to miss them! Could that be it?Well, no, because s/he says "Though we believed we were already eating a healthy diet, several hours of reading through Esselstyn's findings soon proved we were wrong"
If this can be clarified, it would be appreciated.

On a substantive point, I have been lead to believe that fat-free dairy is not only not healthy, it is positively unhealthy.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012 3:00:02 PM PDT
MyRedSandals says:
To clarify: We thought our previous diet was excellent before we switched to a vegan lifestyle... pastured eggs from the farm down the road, organic chicken, grass-fed beef, raw cheeses, wild-caught fish... foods that we'd heard/read were "healthy" and "good for you", but we didn't realize they were not as healthy as we thought. And while we also ate fresh fruits, vegetables, different types of grains, nuts and seeds, the amount of food we ate from these categories didn't come close to the percentage of our diet that they comprise now. Was giving up pepper jack cheese, crisp bacon or the perfectly roasted chicken difficult - yes! But now, I can't really remember what they tasted like and I certainly don't miss them. And in addition to the health benefits of a plant-based diet, for me, there is also the ethical element... that is, not wanting to be even indirectly responsible for the oft-inhumane methods used by commercial farms to kill animals for food - my food.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012 3:34:08 PM PDT
J Collins says:
Well thanks for that. It's clear, but it's not what I wanted to hear. I've recently finished this indictment of the 'v' diets. The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability
The only things my reading would suggest was wrong with your previous diet was the grains, any emphasis on the sweeter fruits, and starchy vegetables. I've been convinced of the error of the carb-centred diet we've been told to eat for 30+ years. I know there is a critique of the China Study, referred to here: http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2010/07/13/outstanding-critique-of-the-china-study/ though I've not read it yet. The Wheat Belly Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health explained my gut and is one of scores of books that have convinced me that low-fat, high carb is the cause of our obesity and illnesses. Taubes, Harcombe, Groves, Sears, Sissons, Briffa, Bowden, Sears, Gedgaudas, Fallon, Shanahan, Eades, Planck, Blythman, Jordan, Mercola...Do you know all of these, and are you rejecting them? I guess I'll give it up for the night now and hopefully hear from you later if you would be so kind.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 1:06:46 PM PDT
MyRedSandals says:
This is certainly a very complex issue, with many different opinions (scientific and otherwise) being offered.

First and foremost, I believe each person needs to do what's best for them... physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally. No one should feel guilty because they eat or don't eat certain foods, and similarly, no one has the right to criticize what someone else is eating or not eating.

Further, I can only speak for myself (and in this case, my husband). Our story is very simple and not meant to make any sort of scientific, political, moral, environmental or social statement. We are not tree huggers, animal rights activists or ecological radicals.

Hubby has a long family history of heart issues and when his cholesterol went above what his doctor deemed was "acceptable", we elected to bypass the standard solution (statin drugs) and go vegan. We did this for 2 reasons: (A) We have personally seen great success with other family members who have followed the vegan route, and (B) There is widely-circulated research published by credible authorities (i.e. Esselstyn, Campbell, Ornish, McDougall, Fuhrman, Barnard, Klaper, Lederman & Pulde, Peppercorn, Saunders, Lanou, Cousens, Graham, Jacobson, Mills, Berman, Heimlich and others) that indicates those who follow a plant-based diet can reduce their cholesterol naturally, without drugs.

We were after the most straightforward, easy-to-manage, drug-free plan that could be maintained for the long haul, and that's exactly what we found with the vegan lifestyle. Without any effort at all, Hubby's cholesterol numbers dropped more than 30% and we're hopeful that this will offer some measure of future protection and help him to avoid the heart attacks and/or surgeries other families members have had to endure, and which that might have otherwise have been automatic for Hubby, too.

Why did I become a vegan? Initially, as I said, it was simply to help Hubby. But then I read a few books and saw a few movies about current commercial farming methods -- more specifically, how animals on these farms are treated -- and I just decided I didn't want to have an innocent animal die (likely by some gruesome, inhumane method) on my account.

So, some might indict the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, but that doesn't mean Hubby or I need to stop what's working for us (BTW, I read most of the 173 reviews of the Keith book you cited, and nothing there changes my mind). We will continue to make the core of our diet fresh, organic vegetables and fruits, organic/non-GMO nuts, seeds, beans, legumes and grains (with no special emphasis on wheat or any other type).

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2012 11:23:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 2, 2012 11:24:55 PM PDT
Burkey says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Apr 16, 2012 4:19:11 PM PDT
Ken B. says:
In what world does a loss of 12 pounds on a guy translate into a loss of 3 inches around his waist?
In what universe does a loss of 9 pounds on a woman translate into a loss of 12 inches around her waist?
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